What’s more, Apple’s FaceTime service also uses end-to-end encryption for voice and video calls, too. If you have iCloud Backups enabled on your iPhone or iPad—and most people do—then there’s a big hole in the normally secure, end-to-end encryption. If Apple’s servers were compromised or someone else gained access to your iCloud account, they could see the contents of your messages.

This also means that Apple could turn over the contents of your iMessage history if compelled to by a government. (As that policy says, Apple never stores the contents of FaceTime audio or video calls.

Imagine explaining to a bunch of Apple customers that, actually, they can never access their data again because they forgot their passwords. To implement an account recovery process that doesn’t lose data, Apple must have the key that unlocks those backups. It’s fair to ask, however, why Apple doesn’t at least offer end-to-end encryption as an option for backups.

According to a report in Reuters from January 2020, Apple was planning to offer end-to-end encryption for iCloud backups. This ensures you can recover your Messages if you lose access to iCloud Keychain and your trusted devices. When you turn off iCloud Backup, a new key is generated on your device to protect future messages and isn’t stored by Apple.

However, the encryption key will be uploaded as part of the iCloud backup, giving Apple access to your messages. However, the encryption key will be uploaded as part of the iCloud backup, giving Apple access to your messages.

Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent iCloud backup from uploading just your messages or just your encryption key. You must disable iCloud backup entirely if you want to remove Apple’s access to your messages.

This will prevent Apple from storing a copy of the decryption key that can access these messages. Warning: It’s a good idea to regularly back up your iPhone using iTunes on your PC or Mac if you disable automatic iCloud backups. To prevent this from happening, consider switching to a secure messaging app that doesn’t back up to iCloud—like Signal.

It backs up the local data many other apps are storing, too—if you have iCloud Backup enabled. If you’ve wiped or lost, or just don’t have your old iPhone, you can’t move your messages to a new device.

iMessages vs SMS Messages: What's the Difference?

iMessages vs SMS Messages: What's the Difference?

You want to save that pricey mobile data for more important things, like watching Youtube videos and playing Clash Royale.

How iMessage sends and receives messages securely

How iMessage sends and receives messages securely

The concatenation of the 88-bit and 40-bit values makes a 128-bit key, which encrypts the message with it using AES in Counter (CTR) Mode. The combination of the encrypted message text and the encrypted message key is then hashed with SHA-1, and the hash is signed with the Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA) using the sending device’s private signing key.

APNs can only relay messages up to 4 or 16 KB in size, depending on the iOS or iPadOS version. The incoming phone number or email address of the sender is matched to the receiver’s contacts so that a name can be displayed when possible. Unlike other APNs notifications, however, iMessage messages are queued for delivery to offline devices.

Secure Messaging In 2021: Everything You Need To Know

Secure Messaging In 2021: Everything You Need To Know

People tend to believe these messages are private and can only be viewed by the person they’re communicating with. Your service provider stores the email for some time (after it’s sent), and sends a copy through multiple servers owned by different organizations in different locations around the country or world. This allows them to provide services such as spam filtering, malware scanning, and indexing (so you can search your email). But it also means they can collect data which can be used for targeted advertising, or which could be accessed by a rogue employee or a hacker who breaks in.

During the times that an email is unencrypted, whether while traveling (in transit) or in storage (at rest), it can be read and potentially changed by the companies that run the email infrastructure, hackers, or governments. Gmail warning that some recipients use email services that don’t support encryption.

Gmail warning that you shouldn’t send sensitive messages to recipients whose email services don’t support encryption. I don’t know if the site didn’t accept payments online, or if they claimed there was a problem with their system, but the site asked my relative to email his credit card details.

My relative felt uneasy about it, but because the site was recommended by a co-worker who had received his order, he sent the email. Technically, when you send only text, you’re using SMS (Short Message Service). When you send pictures, audio, video, or other media, you’re using MMS (Multimedia Messaging Service). In this post, I’ll use “text message” to refer to SMS and MMS.

When you send a text message, it goes from your phone to a nearby cellular tower. The mobile service providers may keep the message even after both sender and recipient have deleted it. Some mobile service providers will encrypt the connection between your phone and the cellular tower, but not all do. That process is similar to what happens with unencrypted text messages.

During the times that a text message is unencrypted, whether while traveling or in storage, it can be read and potentially changed by the companies that run the mobile service infrastructure, hackers, or governments. By the way, it’s because of these and other security shortcomings that I don’t recommend using text messages for two-factor authentication. Now imagine that after you write your note, you lock it in a box using a key that only you and your friend have. Your friend receives the box and uses their key to open it and read your note.

You may see messengers advertise that they use Transport Layer Security (TLS), and that’s great in that it encrypts data while in transit (traveling), but it doesn’t encrypt data at rest (in storage). Learn how to prevent this in the Apple iOS Security & Privacy Guide. If you’re concerned about the privacy of your messages, consider a different secure messenger. It’s extremely popular, especially outside the US, which helps with the challenge of communicating with people who use the same system you do.

Signal is the secure messenger I see most frequently recommended by cybersecurity and digital privacy experts. It’s available for iOS, Android, Windows, and Linux, and can also be accessed through the major web browsers regardless of operating system.

I’ve also seen Wickr recommended by cybersecurity and digital privacy experts, and Facebook Messenger is also end-to-end encrypted (using the Signal protocol) if you opt into Secret Conversations (see the Facebook Security & Privacy Guide). Facebook Messenger is extremely popular in the US, which helps with the challenge of communicating with people who use the same system you do. I’ve read that Whisper, Secret, and Telegram are not secure and private enough to use. Poor quality of service or having to pay for an app can also make a messenger unsuitable for some people. The EFF has an excellent article that helps you think through what you need in a secure messenger. You can find lists of secure messaging apps in the Further Reading section below.

Both of these tools (and the companies that created them) have good reputations for security and privacy. It uses a browser extension to add OpenPGP encryption to webmail services including Gmail, Yahoo!

Check Out ProtonMail We may earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you. You can create a password that the recipient will need to enter to read your message, or you can send the email unencrypted.

I highly recommend using the password option unless you’re certain you don’t need the privacy. That’s because many factors determine the security of a text message or an email. Because texting can also be done with Internet-based phone numbers (such as Google Voice), which further complicates the question. My advice, which I’ve explained above: use a secure messenger for any sensitive messages.

Research the secure messaging options that fit the use cases you’ve identified. Whenever you need to exchange confidential information, use the tool(s) you selected.

When others send you confidential information via unencrypted email or text messages, talk to them about the dangers and how to use more secure options.

Set up text messaging as your verification method

Set up text messaging as your verification method

Until this experience is turned on, you must follow the instructions and information in the Set up my account for two-step verification section.



And if you use the latest versions of watchOS and iOS and turn on two-factor authentication, your health and activity data will be backed up in a way that Apple can’t read. If you later decide to stop sharing, then the other user’s iPhone will delete historical data stored in the Fitness app.

Choose which data and trends to share, including heart health, activity, labs, vitals, Medical ID, cycle tracking, and more. ResearchKit enables developers to create apps that let medical researchers gather robust and meaningful data for studies. With ResearchKit, you choose which studies you want to join, and you control the information you provide to individual research apps. Any apps built using ResearchKit for health-related human subject research must obtain consent from the participants and must provide information about confidentiality rights and the sharing and handling of data.

Once shared, the data is stored securely within Apple in a system designed to meet the technical safeguard requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).

How end-to-end encryption in Messages provides more security

How end-to-end encryption in Messages provides more security

Your eligible messages and their attachments, such as photos and videos, will be end-to-end encrypted. Use data or Wi-Fi for Rich Communications Services (RCS) messages.

You’ll get a banner that says “ Chatting with [contact name or phone number]” when end-to-end encryption is active in a conversation. Tip: As an added measure, you can make sure you and your contact have the same verification code.

If you or your contact lose chat features, end-to-end encryption is no longer possible for messages you send or receive. Once a conversation becomes end-to-end encrypted, it won’t revert to SMS messages unless you or your contact lose or disable RCS, or switch to a new phone or operating system.

You can send an SMS instead, or wait until you or the person you’re messaging gets RCS again. End-to-end encryption is automatic in eligible conversations, so Messages won’t disable other features that help with your message experience, like Google Assistant suggestions, spam detection, and automatic previews. When end-to-end encrypted messages are received on your phone, they’re also included in Android backup and accessible to apps you’ve granted SMS or notifications permissions to.

Texting or e-mail: Which gives you more secure communication?

Texting or e-mail: Which gives you more secure communication?

The recent private-messages-going-public news with Congress scouring the messages obtained from diplomats as part of its impeachment inquiry again has private exchanges top of mind and offers a good jumping-off point to discuss what options you have with the tools you use most. Encryption, says Apple on its website, is used to protect trillions of online transactions every day, for shopping, paying bills and communicating with programs like its own iMessage or FaceTime, or Facebook's Whatsapp. Messages written via popular web programs like Google's Gmail, Microsoft's free version of Outlook or Yahoo Mail are not encrypted by default, nor is government or corporate e-mail. Additionally, the iPhone has a feature that can prevent outside forces like law enforcement or the government from using a USB device to tap into your phone and grab your unencrypted data.

The company says text messages stored on its iCloud service will be encrypted as well, as long as the user has opted in for two-factor authentication sign-ins. Signal, Wire, Rakuten Viber and Whatsapp are popular apps to look to for secure encrypted written and spoken conversations. Because Whatsapp is the most popular chat program in the world, used by over 1 billion users, the odds are high that the person you want to speak to currently uses it.

"End-to-end encryption gives you the confidence to talk, message, and share across teams and with clients, through a single app that's available on all of your devices," the company says. Facebook offers a feature called "Secret Conversation" for private chatting, but both sides have to turn it on for it to work.

(Click the word "Secret" at the top right side of the screen on iPhone or the lock icon in the same place on Android.). Authenticity can be proven during the conversation by both sides checking their digital ID keys (stored under the person's names) and making sure they match.

But privacy is in the eye of the beholder, as the person on the other end of this encrypted conversation can easily make a screenshot and share it with the world.

Phishing Email and Text Scams – Wells Fargo

Phishing Email and Text Scams – Wells Fargo

Learn how to spot and report suspicious email and text messages that appear to be from Wells Fargo. Phishing is the fraudulent attempt to obtain sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords, and account details, typically through an email, text message, or even a phone call. These messages may impersonate a company, charity, or government agency and often make up an urgent request to convince you to sign on to a fake site, open an email attachment containing malware, or respond with personal or account information. If you receive a suspicious email or text message, don’t respond, click any links, or open attachments.

If you responded If you clicked on a link, opened an attachment, or provided personal or account information, call us immediately at 1-866-867-5568. Add trusted short codes and phone numbers to your contact list so you recognize them when you receive a text.

If you receive a request by phone for your PIN, temporary access code, or online banking password, do not respond. If you’re using a computer, hover over the link with your mouse, and the URL will show in the bottom left of your browser window.

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